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Full text of "NightRider"

211

delphia, and wondered even more after he went, what events
of that summer at Thermopolis Springs could have fixed the
two women together in their meaningless, but apparently
stable, bond. He could imagine, well enough, how their time
had been spent, sipping the water from the spring, sitting
together and talking on the long, shady veranda of some
white, wooden hotel, watching the men play bowls, or
dancing in the pavilion. But his mother had once remarked
that lanthe Sprague had always been in bad health, no better
than an invalid, and had practically been confined to a chair.
She must have sat in her chair to watch the dancers for a
while before being carried up to bed.

He had seen some of the letters which the two women
exchanged. The letters exhibited no trace of intimacy. In
their letters the women never referred to that little fragment
of the past which they had shared, except, perhaps, by way
of giving an account of some person whom both had known.
The letters were brief and bare recitals of commonplace facts.
Miss Sprague would write of the weather in Philadelphia,
of the price of coal, of the repairing of a house in her block;
never of anything different from those topics. But in his
childhood and early adolescence, Percy Munn, even though
he was well acquainted with the letters, found that the name
" lanthe " raised in his mind an image of great delicacy and
beauty. In one of his father's books he read a poem with
the title "lanthe":

" From you, lanthe, little troubles pass
Lik-e little ripples down a sunny river;
Your pleasures spring Hke daisies in the grass,
Cut down, and up again as blithe as ever."

It seemed to verify his imaginings.

In Philadelphia he found Miss Sprague, now almost totally
blind, sitting in a high-ceilinged, dingy, overheated room, in
which the unmoving air held the odour of camphor. On
the walls and on the tables and on the what-not, dozens of
photographs hung askew or were propped at slovenly angles.
The woman, who actually could not have been much awe